Waze’s new functionalities: paving the way to a revisited shopping model

As most countries around the world are slowly easing out of lockdown, customers and businesses alike are looking for ways to reengage in face-to-face commercial activities. But transitioning from being homebound to moving around means exposing yourself to potentially stressful situations. And for some, it can be discouraging. So, in order to support local businesses in tackling this challenge, the Google-owned navigation app Waze has added the curbside pickup and drive-thru call to actions to their ad possibilities on the platform. What is it and how is it relevant? We’re guiding you through it!

For the past two months, Belgians’ mobility habits have drastically changed to accommodate governmental measures to contain the spreading of the coronavirus. As shown by the latest COVID-19 Community Mobility Report published by Google. It compares anonymized data from visits in specific locations and their length between the period Jan 3–Feb 6, 2020 and March 26-May 7, 2020. In Belgium, the report shows for example an overall decrease of mobility of 57% at retail and recreation locations (shopping centers, cafés, restaurants, movie theaters, libraries…).

Meeting customers and their expectations where needed

With a gradual loosening of safety measures, people will undeniably move around way more than during the lockdown period. But that doesn’t mean they are more inclined to take risks either.  Seeing the staggering amount of searches for pickup and drive-thru options on Google between February and April 2020 worldwide, the Waze team decided to add those two services to promoted business locations on their app. Creating additional safe meeting points for business.

Drive-thru and curbside pickup allow customers to access products while limiting contact between them and shop employees. In the familiar case of the drive-thru, a collection point is set up where customers can come and take a delivery they have previously made. Curbside pickup, on the other hand, consists in having the delivery left in a location such as the trunk of the customer’s car or a shelf outside of the shop. The choice of pickup location is left to the shop’s appreciation.  

Businesses offering those collection/delivery services will be able to indicate it on their Waze badge. Therefore informing their customers of this possibility as they drive around their shop. Establishing a valuable connection without having to establish physical contact.

Supporting local businesses after the crisis

In the future, far beyond the current context of crisis, we can imagine this to be a lasting feature. While it is now offering safety and peace of mind, it will simply offer additional convenience. And because of the current difficult times, the local economy is enjoying a resurgence in popularity that is very likely to persist. Similarly to the increase of interest in e-commerce that we addressed in a previous article, a raised awareness of local as a viable shopping model should become a growing trend too.

Reactivity is currently the new proactivity
We are all about anticipating trends. But in the current situation, everyone can agree that being reactive is just as valuable for the market. As we can learn from Waze’s adaptive behavior towards change, technological development or, more generally, innovation is a way to accompany and facilitate that change. Plus, it shows how thinking in a customer-centric way can greatly impact the way your product or service is used and, further down the line, how it can impact society.

Out of many ways to recover slowly from the difficulties brought by the crisis, online marketing certainly is the first one to consider. Are you looking to boost your online presence? Our marketeers always look for a solution that meets your business needs. Get in touch with us!